I hate reviewing movies like this for one reason: Comic-Con attendees. They can be extremely hateful and they are sticklers for detail. While the target demographic for this film is probably 11- to 17-year-old boys, I have to say, I really liked it. Yes, it’s a special-effects extravaganza, the set-up is involved and it requires a willing suspension of disbelief on a massive scale, but it also is a thoughtful and, at times, even touching film. Imagine Avatar and Gladiator had a movie baby—which is odd considering this story pre-dates both.
Let me just gloss over the first 30 minutes or so of the movie and get you where you need to be: John Carter (the aptly named Taylor Kitsch) is a world-weary Civil War veteran who happens upon a medallion that mysteriously transports him to Mars. The difference in gravity and bone density make him something of a superman on the red planet, but his speed and strength are unimportant as he wants only to return to earth and continue his treasure hunt. On Mars, however, he discovers a violent civil war, a beautiful princess (Lynn Collins) and a cause.
If you’re not a fan of science fiction, this is probably not the movie for you. Also, comparing it to Avatar may be setting the bar a bit high. This story is more original than Avatar, but lacks Avatar’s elegance. My 14-year-old daughter wanted to walk out almost immediately, while my 11-year-old son gave it a 10. For me, it’s a soft 7.